Letters 08/12/2010

Aug. 10, 2010
Readers bemoan the fact that many HR managers don’t appreciate the skills and lessons learned in the military

Soldiers and Singapore
Readers bemoan the fact that many HR managers don’t appreciate the skills and lessons learned in the military. Those managers are probably too young to remember the slogan, “Don’t forget, hire a vet.” And at least one reader felt an article on how Singapore is aggressively trying to attract business was a backhanded slam at the U.S. Maybe it was.

Silly civilians
After reading the editorial (“The Formula for Innovation,” May 20) about the HR idiot who asked a veteran, “… but have you ever had a real job?” all I can say is that I am stunned! How have we allowed clueless drones like this to stay in positions of responsibility? When I got out of the service in 1973, I got a job as an electronics tech, thanks in large part to the training and experience I had in the U.S. Coast Guard. I hope the people making hiring decisions read your editorial and the book you reference, or the U.S. will end up being another third-world country.

David P. Telling, Jr.

In your editorial , you recount an anecdote in which a military veteran is asked if he ever had a real job. The question was obviously asked by someone who never served in the military. Otherwise they would be keenly aware that perhaps the most important thing that comes out of military service is “discipline,” a trait severely lacking in much of today’s youth and upper management. In the military, you don’t get to quit when the going gets tough.

Now, couple that discipline, and other character-building that goes on daily in the military with an engineering education and you’ve got people who will refuse to be anything but successful in their professional endeavors. You have people who appreciate the value of teamwork, who can evaluate the resources at hand, and know how to best channel those resources and how to circumvent the pitfalls of the job at hand. And that’s a pretty good foundation for innovation.

Many countries have mandatory military service for their youth. Not a bad thing, in my opinion. As a veteran, I can tell you that I look for military-service experience when I review job applications. Unfortunately, you don’t see much of it anymore.

Dennis Cruque

Thanks for this article. It made me think of how lucky I was when I left the military to get hired by someone who immediately recognized what it meant to serve and the skills one gains from service. Perhaps you have sparked the same thought in others.

Ben Bree

Asia ain’t so great
What is it with you guys singing the praises of Asia to American engineers (Medical manufacturing: Easier to set up shop in Singapore? April 22). Do you think we’re saying, “hooray!”? Ask Mr. O’Connor why so many medical-device companies are operating here in the U.S. According to him, it’s just not an option. I work for one of the world’s leading makers of medical devices and we manufacture all of our products in one of the most expensive parts of the U. S. You and Mr. O’Connor might want to know how. I guess we must know something that you don’t — and I want to keep it that way. Good luck competing with us from Asia.

Name withheld

I wasn’t trying to sing the praises of Asia to American engineers. I just provided information on another avenue for companies wanting to go global. In fact, many large American medical OEMs have been in Singapore for 20 to 30 years. Part of the intent of the article was to make Americans and the government aware of just how aggressive Asian countries (and emerging countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam) are courting “our” companies and industries. In tiny Singapore, the sense of excitement and innovation in the air is palatable. Can you say the same about the U. S.? Where would start-ups and SMEs go for funding and help in the U. S.? — Leslie Gordon

Can the government keep you safe from yourself?
In regard to the safety column (“Capacitance system stops table saws from amputating fingers,” April 22), I find the SawStop device very interesting. However, I disagree with your comments that attorneys should convince the courts to force manufacturers to add SawStop to their saws. You make reference to over 50 amputation injuries that could have been avoided on table saws. How many of those saws had safety features and guards that were removed by users? You can’t legislate common sense. More government legislation would only make products more expensive for people like myself that don’t disable the safety features or remove the guards. I think you should keep your personal comments to yourself and only report the facts next time.

Don Beatty

My column, like others in Machine Design, represents experienced opinion. It is not a news story where only “the facts” matter. Now, as to the column on saws, if you take a careful look at the guards that come with power saws and do a careful safety analysis of them, you will see how worthless they can be if struck inadvertently. And saw manufacturers are well aware of these deficiencies.

They also know that many people who use a table saw regularly remove the guard because they say it slows them down, a practice I oppose. And saw manufacturers do not build saws with an interlock on the blade guard because people would not buy them. The argument that people would disable the interlock is weak when you can see how many tools, kitchen appliances, automobiles, and office equipment have safety interlocks that are not disabled.

When there is technology available to protect these people, I have no qualms about penalizing saw makers for not using it or making it available as an option.

The next time you get in your car, look around at all the safety devices there to protect you. If cars could not be started until everyone in them were wearing seat belts, it would save thousands of lives every year in the U.S. — Lanny Berke

Please let me know if SawStop is available for aftermarket saws and if so what the cost is as well as what is involved with installation.

Darrel Tackett

SawStop is not available for after-market saws. If it was, the company making it would probably soon be backed up with orders. Your questions are the most-common questions the company gets. And yet, all the other saw companies are ignoring the public’s desire for a safe saw. — Lanny Berke

Gender bending
Nice enough review of the new Camaro (Feb. 24). But it really bugged me when you referred to the car as “she.” A Camaro is a “she?” It distresses me to hear any gender labels applied to any devices. They are machines, not mammals.

Ross Collard

We certainly regret causing you distress, but certain vessels such as ships and automobiles are commonly referred to as “she.” For example, according to The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea: “ship,” is from the Old English “scip,” the generic name for sea-going vessels, originally personified as masculine, but by the 16th century almost universally expressed as feminine. Other examples abound. For instance, from song: “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes…” (referring to a train). — Leslie Gordon

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.

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